Avenue Q: Funny’s getting serious


Ave q cast


Three weeks today is the band call and four weeks today it’ll all be over – going to be strange once it’s all done, but first we have to get through it all!

Sitting on Wednesday night watching Ru and Sophie performing “Racist” you can see just how far we’ve all come. The way they were manipulating the puppets and interacting was brilliant – as good as when I saw the professionals at HMT a couple of years ago. There is so much talent in the cast – and that’s not just a “oh they’re all great” comment, I genuinely mean it – the acting, singing and skill overall is fantastic and it really makes you want to do your best to not let them down. We’re all more than aware of the closeness of the first night and that is producing some great scenes and performances already – just hope we don’t peak too soon. It is a much more difficult challenge than we thought it would be because you have to learn everything and then double that up with a puppet – even the humans have the extra dimension of the furry friends to act with and to.

The other thing that is starting to add the pressure is the knowledge that the Saturday night performance is already sold out before we even get near the venue which is great news; while it’s not the largest venue to know that all the seats are taken up already is both brilliant and scary. The other nights are starting to fill out as well and it would be great to see as close to full houses each night to repay all the hard work that everyone has put into it. The link for tickets is below and it’d be great to have you along if you’re free.

For me personally I’m still tripping over the words and trying to consolidate the lines in my head – it’s almost as if the more you try to remember them the less they go in. I’m going to have to try a few different approaches to sort it out because it’s not enough to ad-lib because both your fellow performers and the band need to have specific cues to bring them in and while I know the essence of the lines I’m buggered if I can get them right. There’s the added pressure of the production team ready to give you your line if it goes wrong and as soon as you get that line you get so flustered the rest of the scene disintegrates too. Thank goodness the part isn’t any bigger or I’d be in trouble. Knowing how my brain (sometimes) works it will click just at the last minute but that’s no consolation to the cast or production team around me forgetting everything. Knowing that there will be friends and family for all but one of the performances is the incentive I need to get it right.

Another big difficulty is trying to publicise the show as it appears to be a puppet based show with songs but the themes and language are definitely not child friendly so when the Evening Express came along the other night trying to keep the language and info about it all PG so it is printable and broadcast-able isn’t the easiest. At Christmas kids would come up to meet the puppets when were out carolling and singing and it’s trying to then explain to the parents what the show is really about. Once you explain it though I think as a show it’s one that appeals to the non am-dram and musical crowd. It taps into a more comedy based audience rather than those who would go along to a touring company of a Lord Webber or Cameron Mackintosh show – the quirkiness, rudeness and humour is much more suited to those who go to see stand up and other humour shows.

The show is on at Aberdeen Arts Centre from Wednesday 19th until Saturday 22nd February 2014 with shows at 7.30pm each night and a matinée on the Saturday Afternoon at 2.30pm. Tickets are only £13 (£11 for concessions) plus booking fee from http://www.aberdeenperformingarts.com/events/avenue-q unless booked directly with the cast (Email me about it at jd@johnduncan.co.uk) I look forward to seeing you there. 


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